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Old 07-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Barking at family

My 17 month old German Shepherd has started barking at family members on occasions recently.
Some background. At ten months old a man in the park grabbed him around the chest while I was throwing his ball. The man called him over and at the time Axel was extremely friendly and loved meeting new people. When he went over the man rubbed him asked me a few questions about him and then grabbed him with his legs over Axel's back and arms around his chest.

After that Axel had begun Staring intensely at strangers and he ran at a man during his agility class (Since then he has not been able to attend classes). However, I have put a lot of hard work into turning his behavior around. Through positive reward based training without the use of choke chains or prong collars, which I would never use, he has become much more relaxed. I can now take him to socialization which is on straight after his old agility class.

This brings me to my next problem. Sometimes When other members of my family or I are just sitting down on the couch or at the table Axel stares and then begins to bark at us, not a happy bark. It's like for a few seconds he has forgotten who we are and then 10 seconds later he puts his ears down and walks over for a rub. What should I do? Does anyone know what may be going through his head ?
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have a video camera to record it so we can visually see it?

Could it be excitement or pay attention barking?

With the way my dog greets you think she would be about ready to attack the family. Her ears go back, she goes "ROOOOO", her tail is going and she barks and goes nuts with mouth hugs. But that is Zelda attempting to maintain her super excitement when she see's a family member she hasn't seen in a little while.
Zelda also does snappy comebacks when i ask her to do something she doesn't want to do, she gets frustrated. She is expressing her emotions, and i do not take it personally, as its not at me, more of communication.

When he does the barking are you able to be an interrupter and he comes over and acts normal or does the interrupter to his barking make things worse, or what does he do? If he is doing the barking for 10 seconds, thats enough time to interrupt, you can do a fun game or even say, "Come here buddy!" In a very enthusiastic and happy tone. I think that would tell you a lot about the bark.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, dogs always go by "If I do this, then that will follow."

He thinks that if he barks, a rub will follow.

I, too, would like to have a video of this. They have so many types of bark in their repertoire.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by VTGirlT View Post
Do you have a video camera to record it so we can visually see it?

Could it be excitement or pay attention barking?

With the way my dog greets you think she would be about ready to attack the family. Her ears go back, she goes "ROOOOO", her tail is going and she barks and goes nuts with mouth hugs. But that is Zelda attempting to maintain her super excitement when she see's a family member she hasn't seen in a little while.
Zelda also does snappy comebacks when i ask her to do something she doesn't want to do, she gets frustrated. She is expressing her emotions, and i do not take it personally, as its not at me, more of communication.

When he does the barking are you able to be an interrupter and he comes over and acts normal or does the interrupter to his barking make things worse, or what does he do? If he is doing the barking for 10 seconds, thats enough time to interrupt, you can do a fun game or even say, "Come here buddy!" In a very enthusiastic and happy tone. I think that would tell you a lot about the bark.
I'm fairly sure it's not for attention or excitement. I have had 4 German Shepherds (I have 3 of them currently) and I have learned to tell the difference. He does his excited bark when I've been away or if he has been alone in the house for a couple of hours. This bark that he does is loud with his tail up and an intense stare. It's quite scary, where as his other bark is happy.

Once I say his name he immediately calms down and might give a few small barks afterwards and then looks really relieved as if he figured out I'm not a danger. It really looks like he doesn't recognize me for a couple of seconds and then he looks relieved.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, dogs always go by "If I do this, then that will follow."

He thinks that if he barks, a rub will follow.

I, too, would like to have a video of this. They have so many types of bark in their repertoire.
I don't actually rub him afterwards he just comes over to me as if he wants me to rub him or pay attention but I just ignore him after he barks.

I don't know if I would be able to get a video as it happens very quickly. It's a low bark, the same bark he does if he hears something outside (like a loud bang) in the middle of the night.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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is anyone 'staring' at him before he starts this? Some dogs consider a 'stare' to be a challenging behavior..Not saying it's acceptable at all from a known family member..just wondering
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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is anyone 'staring' at him before he starts this? Some dogs consider a 'stare' to be a challenging behavior..Not saying it's acceptable at all from a known family member..just wondering
No nobody stares at him before he starts barking. It is very random, I know something is causing him to do it but I don't know what. Other then that he is such a wonderful fog to be around. He is very sweet and gentle and plays so nicely with my 4 month old Sheltie.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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is anyone 'staring' at him before he starts this? Some dogs consider a 'stare' to be a challenging behavior..Not saying it's acceptable at all from a known family member..just wondering

Is it acceptable if a dog barks in response to a stare from strangers passing by?
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can't say with out seeing the dog" but shepherds can be vocal" mine barks at me when he has to use the bathroom " wants to go out" or just wants to play" Bill

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Old 07-04-2014, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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"This brings me to my next problem. Sometimes When other members of my family or I are just sitting down on the couch or at the table Axel stares and then begins to bark at us, not a happy bark."

Are you able to call Axel to you when he does this?

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